ICUT honors Dr. Rodriguez for his public service
Above: Texas Wesleyan University President Fred Slabach and ICUT Board Chair & McMurray University President Sandra Harper present the 2018 Carol L. McDonald Public Service Award to Ric Rodriguez, Ph.D., dean of the Texas Wesleyan School of Natural and Social Sciences, at ICUT's Annual Meeting in Houston.
Ricardo Rodriguez, Ph.D., dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences at Texas Wesleyan University, was named the recipient of the 2018 Carol L. McDonald Public Service Award from the Independent Colleges & Universities of Texas.
The Carol L. McDonald Public Service Award recognizes and honors one ICUT academic or staff employee who demonstrates outstanding public service beyond the scope of their job and/or teaching requirements.
Rodriguez received this outstanding recognition for his annual summer Chemistry Camp for underprivileged kids, which just completed its 27th year. Each summer, the camp brings together 90 4th and 5th grade Fort Worth ISD students from challenged schools and provides them valuable lessons in chemistry, physics and aerodynamics, at no cost to the students. The camp takes place on the Texas Wesleyan campus.
“I saw the opportunity to provide economically challenged neighborhood kids with a chance to visit a college campus, meet professionals, learn science, experience hands-on science experiments and see their possible future,” Rodriguez said. “My inspiration comes from the inspiration I feel when I help others. My hope is that those who benefited will continue the route and inspire others.”
Camp activities allow students to critically think about complex STEM subjects under the supportive direction of local middle and high school students that serve as mentors and talented Fort Worth ISD teachers who lead the lessons.
“Dr. Rodriguez’s dedication to Chemistry Camp over the years has an immeasurable impact on the students that attend and our community,” Texas Wesleyan President Frederick G. Slabach, said. “His public service keeps young minds active during the summer, with access to education they would not have otherwise, and puts them on a path toward the future while getting to experience a college campus firsthand. We are extremely proud of Dr. Rodriguez and congratulate him on this outstanding award.”
Rodriguez says that many students who attend camp as younger kids come back to help mentor the next generation of biologists, chemists and other leaders in the STEM world.
“Many go on to pursue higher education, in the form of degrees in biochemistry and at least one student who earned their Ph.D. in psychology,” Rodriguez said. “Students have gone on to pursue higher education at schools like Hofstra University (New York), the University of Texas at Austin and right here at Texas Wesleyan.”
Rodriguez is the second to receive this award – the first being the namesake of the award herself.
About the Carol L. McDonald Public Service Award
Public service is inextricably linked to ICUT's mission of sustaining and advancing independent, nonprofit higher education in Texas. Employees at ICUT member institutions are actively engaged in public service in multiple local, regional and global settings. Each year, the Carol L. McDonald Public Service Award will recognize and honor one such ICUT academic or staff employee who has demonstrated outstanding public service beyond the scope of their job and/or teaching requirements.